#SonofaPitch Revisions: Salvation

Man, it’s been another long while since I posted here, but holy shit has time away been fruitful. Between various life happenings, I’ve been entering different pitch contests and such on Twitter. One such contest is #SonofaPitch, in which I have passed the second round as of today (September 23rd).

This is my revised entry for #SonofaPitch.


Title: Salvation
Category and Genre: Adult, Suspense/Thriller (Psych.)
Word Count: 75,000

Query:

Small town journalist Tom Coster is chasing a story 30 years in the making. The story: The untold events that went on behind the doors of now-shuttered Salvation Home for Wayward Children. Tom, however, has a hidden motive behind the article he wants to print. He hope the story draws out his cousin, Dianna Lane, who disappeared from the troubled teen home those 30 long years ago, or the man he suspects kidnapped her; The former owner of the compound, Marcus Taylor, who went off the grid around the same time.

The further Tom digs the more attention he gains, and from those who would rather Salvation Home’s past remain there. Whether it’s phoned threats, arson, or attempted murder, it becomes clear to Tom just how far these people will be willing to go to keep the public-at-large from finding out the horrific history of Salvation Home. He must decide if he is willing to sacrifice everything knowing this, even his life, in order to expose the past, bring justice to its survivors, and bring his cousin home.

First 250 Words:

At first, the icy steel floor was a welcome reprieve. Then her bleeding welts began to scream.

“Esther, get off th’ floor,” the man standing over her demanded. “Y’ain’t gon’ bleed t’ death. B’sides, y’got ten mo’ah swat comin’.”

She looked up at him, taking in the terrifying image of him. The man’s beige button-down and undershirt soaked was soaked in sweat, and dotted with small, but growing, flecks of her blood. As such, the room took on a scent of iron and salt, which mingled with something more foul. On his face was a look as unrepentant and cold as the floor, something that seemed impossible on his pale, plump countenance. “Esther” struggled to get to her feet, her legs shivering, the skirt of her unwashed dress like steel wool against her skin.

“Please,” she whispered, her voice trembling, almost a whine. “please…Brother M-Marcus…no more…”

“Shut it, girl.” Marcus growled, combing his fingers through his once-cropped hair. “Assume th’ position, an’ repeat Proverbs 23:13.” “Esther” did as told, taking her skirt up and over her buttocks while trying to keep her legs from collapsing beneath her as she bent over ever so slightly.

“W-withhold not c-cor–agh!” she screamed as the cane, a twisted and evil implement, came down on one of her already open wounds with marksmen’s accuracy. The wood, jagged and tattered from years use, cut into the back of her legs. One more swipe, and she doubled over, doing her best not to vomit from the pain.

“Don’ you get sick all ovah, child,” Marcus growled, his voice more fierce than before. “Eight mo’ah, then we git you all nice an’ cleaned up.” He chuckled, and in his attempt to make it sound light-hearted instead turned it into the most soul-crushing sound in the world. “Now, git up, and git back into position!”

But “Esther” couldn’t manage it. Her body wouldn’t obey. Once before she had been in a similar situation: Her back tensed, the old marks there beginning to hurt through sympathy.


 

Thanks to those in #SonofaPitch for their advice and suggestions over the course of the second round.

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Revising And Editing: A Cautionary Tale

I finished revising and editing Salvation (my first full-ish length novel) overnight, copy/pasting every chapter from my revision document to my formatting document one by one. Tedious work, I tell you what.

So after killing off darlings, making more, killing those, and then finding that happy medium…I take a look at the word count on my revision document. 75,401 words. Not bad, if I do say so myself. It’s not 80,000 words, but the story turned out to be less than that so I’m not worried.

I take a look at the formatting document and lo and be-fucking-hold: 75,385 words. Massive worlds of difference there between the revision doc.

So for an hour or so I’m panicking, considering deleting everything from the formatting document. Do that, then one by one copy/paste every chapter all over again. Then I remembered something.

On my revision document, I have a small blurb at the very beginning. One of those “Reader Discretion Advised”/”This is a work of fiction” things you find from time to time.

That’s where the missing words went. Or, that’s where they weren’t.

…now I’m deciding whether to include that blurb…just to have that word count be similar on both documents.

Thoughts And Doubts And All The Goddamn Coffee

Wednesday morning, 4 AM-ish, I wake up and stare at the ceiling, still unbelievably tired. Doesn’t help that I woke up every two hours or so since 10 PM last night. Trivia weekend really fucked up my sleep schedule, didn’t it? Guess I can blame both late-night info-searching and drinking for every “Portesi” ad that came across the radio. Stupid drinking game. At least I didn’t go insane like after the last drinking game I played. Four or so years ago.

Cat’s at the door, howling for food. He can wait another hour. Eyelids are feeling heavier, but I’m not falling asleep. Go away, cat: I’m trying to sleep. I know you’re hungry, but give me at least another hour, okay? Besides, you do have a bowl of dry food. I know it’s not empty. There’s plenty of food around that small dab of white at the bottom of the…fine, I’ll feed you. May as well make coffee, too.

May as well stay up the rest of the day, too. Have to donate plasma later, too. May as well get some revising done while I’m at it. Keep the brain busy so I’m not tempted to fall asleep.

But first: To Twitter!

Let’s see what’s…oh. Oh hell. Timeline’s just as amazing and depressing as always. May as well tweet some before doing revisions. Let’s add something to the list of #amwriting, shall we?

Oh sweet, a few new followers from all that. Greetings, new followers! Hope you…oh. Some of you are editing companies. Great. Oh, some are also writers themselves. That’s cool. Guess that does it for trying to network and be entertaining at the same time.

Back to revisions…after two more cups of coffee. Yeah, that does it. Coffee good, coffee life. Coffee is my god, and I will spread its mighty word through the world…just not right now.

No, that paragraph isn’t going to work with the rest of the book. Why’d you get rid of all of that? Oh yeah, that’s right: You changed every chapter up to now. And you lost over 2000 words because of that. Kill your darlings, they said. It’ll make your story better!

It’s the truth, isn’t it? Getting rid of just plain terrible sentences and paragraphs and pages…

Am I ending up in another endless editing spiral again? No, I haven’t deleted all the 70,000+ words I wrote. Yet. Maybe? I mean, I’m working on formatting the manuscript from the ground up. Again. Fuck…maybe I am in that trap.

No. No, I’m not, and it’s not going to help matter to continue doing that. Just have to keep moving forward.

At least I’m listening to the same mood music I wrote the first draft with. Funny how SunnO))) and Slipknot helps with that when mixed with Old Blind Dogs and Enya.

Okay, gotta take a break before I do erase everything. Let’s look up more advice for querying and publishing. Well isn’t that nice: Writer’s Digest has another contest! Let’s see the…oh. Oh, okay. Another contest I’d have to pay to enter. Like that’s in the current budget right now.

I get the need for larger contests to have some kind of paywall: Helps keep “quality” in check…but does it really? I mean, hell, there are forums out there that have a paywall for content and even that does little to keep shit from sneaking in. Not that I think I’m not shit, but at least I’m better than EL James and Stephanie Meyer. Need another cup of coffee just to wash that taste out of my mouth. Ugh.

How much of this query writing advice is bullshit? Just how much of it? Some things are similar: “Be original, but be professional.” “Be professional, but be original.” Fucking hell, those are the same damn thing as each other. Jesus titty-fucking Christ, everything is so varied and confusing. This person says to do Thing A, and another says to NEVER do Thing A but ALWAYS do Things B, C, and Z. So-and-so said not to do those things, and that Thing A is dependent on the agent.

Some more uniformity would be fucking nice, you know. Like, a definitive list of Do’s and Don’ts that even a monkey could follow, something someone trying to get a traditional deal for the first time could use as a great stepping stone.

Wait, is this more of that “quality control”, like having to pay for entering a writing contest? Maybe, maybe not? I don’t know anymore. Looking at Manuscript Wishlist and agent tweets helps some…but it’s still too open-ended and confusing. Hell, some agents don’t even have specifics or examples of what they want on these sites. How’s that supposed to help with anything? Even a “I’m looking for the next <insert client or author and/or their works here>!” is better than no example at all, even if I haven’t heard of these people at all. It’s a better stepping stone to knowing what someone’s looking for than just jumping into the void.

Shit, it’s almost as if this industry is bougie, vague, archaic, and screwed up on purpose!

Is this desk made out of oak or maple? It’s hard as fuck all, is all I know. Note to self: Don’t test wood strength, durability, and type with your forehead. Getting a headache helps no one, especially yourself.

I’m so stupid. Magnificently so; my stupidity should be hanging in a gallery for the world to see. “Moron Writer Extraordinaire” could be the title, and the synopsis would read, “Dylan Sawyer was suspended from college due to a mix of his job interfering with his assignments and classes, and his own broke-brain ass fucking up everything for him, and his stubbornness in refusing to get help kept him from doing anything further with advancing his knowledge about the writing industry.” I could get some royalties from that, for sure.

Self-deprecation is just self-pity and self-harm wrapped together in a neat little package.

Hey, I haven’t been on WordPress for a while. Maybe I should update my blog…

*An hour and a half passes*

Well, aren’t I the little attention-seeker today. “Let’s complain on and to the void of the Internet, contribute nothing that probably hasn’t already been said about things and tit-for-tat, have sympathy and pity for me~!” Here’s where the wet fart noise would be, world. Enjoy: I am the idiot on social media. One of many today, and the day is far from over.

It’s only 10:35 AM, after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, I purged my mind! Maybe I can continue with revising Salvation. The early chapters needed the most work done, anyway, and the end is finally something I can be happy with. Just a hundred more words with this one chapter, then I can put bits and pieces together as I go along again.

Time to get another pot of black gold going, then I’l start again.

All hail the coffee god, for it is good and kind and delicious.

 

Bergentrückung

when no more birds are left to cry
men in power left to defy
nowhere for innocents to fly
the call is sound but pass them by

where on the lonely mountaintop
within its hallowed halls they lop
off hands of working folk non-stop
to feed gilded pigs daily slop

and down within the chasms deep
inside a stone-wrought coffin sleep
the ones who many now do weep
their dreams of freedom they now keep

for it is known they are not shy
and they have no shame to eavesdrop
on those whose treason they will reap:
the true kings will rise! and in their wake
the wicked in their flames they will take

A Word On Patreon

To get to the point: I’m ending my Patreon.

When I started using Patreon I wanted it to be a way for people who enjoyed Chronicles of Cautinia enough that they’d like to pledge money. Sure, it wasn’t successful, and of course I haven’t been updating it as often as I would like. I’ll readily admit that. I also haven’t been promoting the Patreon or the story as hard/often as I could have.

That’s not why I’m ending my Patreon. The reason has to do with an addition to their TOS.

Those who aren’t familiar with Patreon’s TOS: In the last few months, they’ve added a new section under Security that requires Creators (maybe patrons themselves, I’m not sure to that extent) to provide their date of birth and address. As in their residence.

That’s all fine and well. That’s not something I have an issue with. What I take issue with, and this could definitely fall into the realm of “personal preference”, is that Patreon also now requires Creators to provide a scanned copy of their driver’s license/state- or country-issued ID, or their passport.

Outside of local/state/federal websites, I’ve never once had to provide that sort of information. With past employment, I’ve had to offer that information, but that was in part used for background checks–especially in the case for jobs where driving is a component while on the clock (see: delivery drivers, “Floating” between jobs/accounts, etc.).

I’ve never had to offer this sort of information for a service like Patreon. Ever.

Am I saying this makes Patreon “bad”? No, of course not.

What I am saying, however, is that I’m wary of sharing that kind of information with anyone not affiliated with government or a potential employer…and the latter is often done offline to ensure that any online shenanigans don’t happen. At least, that’s what happens in my neck of the woods; I’m not sure what happens elsewhere in regards to this.

In other words, I’m not comfortable with sharing my driver’s license info with Patreon, despite whatever measure they would have to ensure that said information wouldn’t get out there. I’m sure that they have safeguards to make sure nothing happens with that information, but since we live in a world where hackers and viruses/worms/etc. can take that information and leak/abuse them for identity theft, I’d rather be more safe than sorry.

That’s why I’m disabling my Patreon.

You could say that I’ve got my tin-foil hat on, and I’m more than happy that you believe so. I’m not, however, the only one to be concerned about this addition to Patreon’s TOS. YouTuber Counter Arguments also has the same sentiments in regards to this change to the TOS.

At some point, Patreon will be hacked or attacked, and that information will make it out into the world, if it hasn’t happened already.

I understand why Patreon wants this information: They want to make sure that Creators are who they say they are, and verifying this information with these new additions to the TOS. That’s all fine and well. I take no umbrage with that. I actually applaud Patreon for taking steps to protect patrons. Consumer safety is important. I don’t, on the other hand, think this is the way to do that.

That being said, if people still want to use Patreon with that in mind, then go for it. I’m not saying don’t use it. Go ahead and use it if you want. It’s a good thing that there is a way for people to get some kind of income directly from an audience that enjoys their work. I may believe Patreon’s safety standards are a bit extreme in regards to privacy, but if someone else doesn’t think so, then more power to them.

In the meantime, I’m still writing and working at getting published. Doing more and more research into self-publishing which, at this point in the process, sounds more and more favorable. That could just be my cynicism talking, but eh.

Stance: A Poem

So we’re the enemy you need
craving that field to sow your seeds
Planting that hate in the people
folks who see the Hill’s got steeples
turrets firing off stupid laws
legislation with designed flaws
errors intended for the top
Elite shits overlooked by cops
policing policy to keep
control over mad stacks and heaps
deposits that no one will pay
Profits made from fear that betray
snitches who expose their evil
foul perversions for medieval
antique mentalities where deeds
act more like plows to help grow weeds
Removing facts with perjury
deception used like surgery
sectioning out their heart for pride
dignity seen as cyanide
Poison like the lead in water
drinks they wouldn’t give their daughters
girls who know the issues they face
fighting back against this disgrace
Debasing their conceived honor
virtue like O’Conner’s goners
useless excuses for mankind
shit from a fresh stinking behind
after taking the easy way
method making me want to say
“Express to us why you stand
twisted against us, head in sand?”